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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Congo minister sacked after crash
Volunteer helps at crash site
The exact death toll from Thursday's crash is still unclear
The Democratic Republic of Congo's transport minister has been sacked one day after a plane crashed into a residential area of the capital.

Remy Henry Kuseyo Gatanga had shown he was incapable of reforming the aviation sector, a presidential spokesman said.

At least 50 people died when the plane landed in Kinshasa, sending a fireball and thick smoke into the air.

Police and government sources say one of the crew survived and is recovering in hospital. Some 30 people were hurt.

The death toll continued to climb on Friday as more bodies were recovered from the crash site and two children died in hospital of their injuries, said senior humanitarian affairs official, Serge Mulumba.

Firefighters were trying to put out the flames from the cockpit
The BBC's Emery Agalu Makumeno

Air accidents are frequent in DR Congo, where many airlines fly ageing planes.

According to the African Airlines Association, the country has accounted for well over half of all the air crashes in Africa over the last decade.

One out of every five fatal air accidents happens in Africa.

The Antonov 26 cargo plane, owned by the Congolese airline Africa 1, crashed shortly after take-off from Ndjili airport.

It was bound for Tshikapa, in the central province of Kasai-Occidental.

Antonov ban

Presidential spokesman Kudura Kasongo announced the minister's sacking on state television.

The BBC's Emery Agalu Makumeno in Kinshasa says last month the minister banned all Antonovs from flying over Congolese territory, but had to backtrack a week ago because the move proved so unpopular.

Aircraft are used extensively for transport in DR Congo, a huge country where there are few paved roads.

A United Nations spokesman in DRC, Michel Bonnardeaux, told the BBC on Thursday he had heard from local police sources that two people on board had survived - an air hostess and a mechanic.

The Humanitarian Affairs Ministry confirmed to Reuters news agency on Friday that a Congolese mechanic was alive.

At least 20 private companies in DR Congo operate mainly old planes built in the former Soviet Union.

Last year, the European Union banned all but one of the country's air companies, including Africa 1, from operating in Europe.



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Footage of plane crash wreckage





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